National Association of Workforce Boards
Follow Us:
Member Log-In  |  Contact Us
Workforce Central

Join NAWB President/CEO, Ron Painter, National Association of Workforce Board’s President/CEO, as he interviews public and private sector leaders in workforce development, education, business and economic development on key workforce issues and investment strategies to help America compete globally.

On-Demand Episodes: Listen Now!

Episode 50: The Rise of Irregular Employment

Wingham Rowan, Director of "Beyond Jobs" and Alison Gerber, Senior Associate from the Annie E. Casey Foundation join the program to discuss the report "Beyond Gig Work: Public Markets For Irregular Employment" and the takeaways from the study. Discover the implications of the gig economy and the opportunities that irregular employment create for the workforce system as a whole.


Takeaways From The Episode:

Wingham Rowan and Alison Gerber
  • About 30-35% of the workforce do not know their hours or pay week to week
  • Some workers voluntarily choose to participate in the gig economy
  • Some major policy issues related to irregular employment are healthcare and retirement
  • Workforce boards are uniquely qualified to supply irregular employment to the labor market

Special Solar September Episode: How The Solar Industry Creates Good Jobs

NAWB and the Solar Training Network are celebrating Solar September to increase awareness of how workforce boards can engage with solar employers and place job seekers into training programs that lead to careers in solar energy. This episode features an interview with Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation, as she discusses the work that they are doing to accelerate the adoption of solar energy. You'll discover what workforce boards need to know about the solar industry and how solar energy is helping to create well paying jobs across the United States.


Andrea Luecke

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Solar jobs can be found in all 50 states
  • Solar jobs pay above average and there is a low education barrier to entry
  • There is not yet a distinct career path in the solar industry
  • The Solar Training Network is helping to meet the workforce needs of the solar industry

Episode 49: Introduction to Season Three

Ron Painter, CEO of the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) shares his reflections on the current state of the workforce system and what to expect from season 3 of Workforce Central. Discover the themes that will be explored in upcoming episodes.

Ron Painter


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The workforce system is in a state of flux 
  • One of the upcoming themes for season 3 is advocacy
  • Futures thinking was one of the most popular themes in season 2 
  • Season 3 will feature interviews with legends from the workforce industry 

Episode 48: Labor Market Exclusion - Lessons for Workforce Boards

Jerry Paytas, VP of Analytics at Fourth Economy, discusses the challenge of labor market exclusion and the lessons for workforce boards. Discover why full employment has not led to rising incomes for all and what can be done to help those who have been excluded from the labor market to find meaningful work.


Takeaways From The Episode:

Jerry Paytas
  • A large number of people are being excluded from the unemployment count
  • People who are institutionalized are not counted in the labor market analytics
  • Full employment is not translating into a good living for all US citizens
  • As people age, job mobility becomes more difficult 

Episode 47: Labor Market Challenges and Opportunities

Paul Harrington, Director of The Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University, returns to the program to discuss the opportunities and challenges of full employment in the labor market, as well as the importance of including young people in the labor pool.

Paul Harrington


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • It is crucial to get young people back into the labor market
  • Students who work during high school do better overall in the job market
  • Ex-offenders would benefit from a public works program to help assess their work ethic
  • As the labor market tightens, wages at the bottom of the labor market will improve

Episode 46: The Challenge of Full Employment

NAWB President and CEO Ron Painter discusses the challenge of full employment in the US labor market and reveals some upcoming guests who will providing advice and tips regarding what this means for workforce boards as well as possible solutions.

Ron Painter


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The US labor market is nearing full employment
  • The low unemployment rate creates a challenge for workforce boards
  • Companies can no longer rely on "churn" to replenish their labor supply
  • President Trump will be discussing the importance of apprenticeships 

Episode 45: Building Careers In the Restaurant and Hotel Industries

Wendi Safstrom, the Vice President, Programs and Administration at The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and Shelly Weir, Senior Vice President of Career Development at The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF)discuss the work that their foundations are doing respectively to provide labor talent to their industries. This episode was recorded live at The Forum 2017.


Wendi Safstrom & Shelly Weir

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The NRAEF is creating robust programming for opportunity youth
  • AHLEF awards a lapel pin to those who complete their certification
  • The NRAEF focused on management skills, not just culinary skills, in their apprenticeship program
  • The hotel industry is looking for additional opportunities to partner with the workforce system

Episode 44: The Construction Industry-Workforce Challenges and Opportunities

Recorded live at The Forum 2017, Mike Glavin from Associated Builders and Contractors discusses the labor challenges facing the construction industry. Discover industry trends, as well as the opportunities that exist in the construction industry and the steps that the industry is taking to develop future talent.


Mike Glavin

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • ABC's member companies train over 470,000 individuals annually
  • There are many entrepreneurial opportunities for workers
  • There is a predicted 1.1 million person labor shortage in the industry over the next decade
  • The construction industry includes technical and management positions

Episode 43: The Role of Workforce in Economic Development

This episode features an interview with Tom Murphy, a former mayor of Pittsburgh and ULI Canizaro/Klingbeil Families Chair for Urban Development. Tom discusses the important role that the workforce system plays in economic development, and the efforts that his administration made to rebuild Pittsburgh after the decline of the steel industry.


Takeaways From The Episode:

Tom Murphy
  • Between 1970-1990 about 50,000 people a year were leaving Pittsburgh
  • Companies have been increasingly relocating from suburban areas to cities
  • Many economic leaders are largely unaware of workforce development boards
  • Where people work and the skills they need will be the driving forces behind the success of US cities 

Episode 42: The Forum 2017 - Takeaways and Opportunities

Doug Foresta, producer of Workforce Central, hosts this special follow up episode to the The NAWB Forum 2017. You'll hear from attendees about what they value most about NAWB and some of the challenges that they are facing in their region, and how they are going about solving those challenges.


Takeaways From The Episode:

Doug Foresta
  • Members find NAWB gives them a national perspective on workforce issues
  • Forum attendees had a variety of roles, from leadership to direct service
  • Many attendees shared the importance of telling workforce stories from their region
  • The most common challenge that attendees shared was needing to address the skills gap

Episode 41: Lessons From An Award Winning Industry Partnership

This episode features an interview with Judy McDonald, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County in Texas and Jon Gustafson from Lockheed Martin Corporation, as they discuss how they were able to create a successful industry partnership. Judy is the 2017 recipient of the WIOA Trailblazer Award. Discover the key takeaways from this partnership and the lessons for workforce boards across the U.S.


Takeaways From The Episode:

Judy McDonald and Jon Gustafson
  • Workforce boards need to continually focus on how they can add value
  • There has to be a leadership commitment on the business side 
  • A successful industry consortium needs to have multiple champions
  • Having 1-1 conversations with industry leaders can provide valuable feedback 

Episode 40: Lessons From The Gold Standard Evaluation

Kenneth Fortson, senior economist and associate director for research at Mathametica Policy Research, joins the program to discuss the results from the Gold Standard Evaluation and the takeaways for workforce boards. Discover some of the most surprising findings from the study thus far, and the implications for the workforce system.


Takeaways From The Episode:

Dr. Christopher King
  • The Gold Standard Evaluation was funded by the Department of Labor 
  • The study included people from 200 American Job Centers in 28 local areas
  • Participating in a training program initially lowered a study participant's earnings 
  • People with intensive services earned about 15% more than those without those services 

Episode 39: Evaluation and Return on Investment in Workforce

Dr. Christopher King joins Ron Painter to discuss evaluation and return on investment (ROI) in the workforce development system. Dr. King shares what he looks for in an evaluation report and what workforce boards need to think about when it comes to evaluation.


Dr. Christopher King

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Independent evaluations are generally preferable
  • Evaluations should make their assumptions transparent
  • There is a trend towards evidence based policy making 
  • With training investments it usually takes 18+ months to overtake earnings to a comparison group

Episode 38: Ron Painter on Evaluation in Workforce

Ron Painter, CEO of NAWB, discusses the importance of evaluation in workforce, beyond compliance requirements. Ron shares his thoughts about how workforce boards and workforce systems need to be thinking about evaluation and shares how members can access additional resources about evaluation.


Ron Painter

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Every workforce program requires an investment of time, money or both
  • Capital investments are crucial for workforce systems
  • We need to look at the financial payoff for investment in human capital
  • We need to be careful about describing workforce programs as "free" as all programs require some form of investment

Episode 37: How Workforce Boards Can Engage in Education Policy

Mary Gardner Clagett, Director for National Workforce Policy for Jobs for the Future, joins Ron Painter as a co-host. Discover why workforce boards should care about education policy and how boards can effectively engage in shaping educational policy and programming.


Mary Gardner Clagett

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The new administration may focus more on student outcomes in higher education.
  • CTE programs can be an important entry point for students to career pathways
  • Over half of all recipients of financial aid are nontraditional students
  • By 2020, 60% of all US jobs will require some form of postsecondary education and training

Episode 36: The Future of Workforce In A Jobless Era - Part Two

This episode continues the conversation with Josh Copus, Vice President and COO of NAWB, as he discusses lessons and takeaways from his paper "Proactive Policy Making For A Jobless Era." Josh discusses what workforce boards need to know and keep in mind related to the future of work and jobs.


Josh Copus

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Technologies like Uber have created new work opportunities for millions of people
  • The gig economy can decouple jobs from traditional employer benefits
  • Workforce boards need to look at whether new job opportunities are providing a sustainable living for workers
  • Workforce boards are now in the middle of a conversation about the kinds of industry that they want to have in their community

Click here to read Josh's paper.

Episode 35: The Future of Workforce In A Jobless Era - Part One

This episode features Josh Copus, Vice President and COO of NAWB, as he discusses lessons and takeaways from his paper "Proactive Policy Making For A Jobless Era." Josh discusses the shift that will need to occur in the workforce system with the shifting nature of work and jobs.


Josh Copus

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Only 6% of the world's population has access to a great job
  • Purposeful work could be the most valuable community in the future
  • As the nature of work and jobs change, the role of government will change as well
  • Jobs in the future will not have the same level of security as in the past

Click here to read Josh's paper.

Episode 33: Turning Job Seekers into Entrepreneurs

This episode features an interview with Angela Pate, President and CEO of Focused Management Solutions, Inc. and Jamie Grooms, Chairman of the Board of Directors of AxoGen Corporation as they discuss their work with Startup Quest and how it benefits job seekers. Angela and Jamie discuss the outcomes of the program as well as lessons for workforce boards.


Angela Pate & Jamie Grooms

Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Mentorship and team based collaboration was crucial for success
  • The participants experienced an empowering mindset shift
  • Governance is essential for a successful start up company
  • There was an 85 million dollar yearly economic impact from the program

Episode 32: Connecting Talent to the Labor Market- With Phil Blair

Phil Blair, President/CEO of Manpower San Diego, discusses how he identifies areas in the job market that are most in need of talent and how job seekers can give themselves the best opportunity to get the job that they want. Phil also shares his perspective on the current job market and what it means for employers and employees.

Phil Blair


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The labor market is looking for very niche skill sets
  • You need to identify what areas you are passionate about as a job seeker
  • You want to list accomplishments, not duties, on your resume
  • You want to identify the sectors that are currently hiring in your area

Episode 31: Economic Trends - With Jerry Paytas, Ph.D.

This episode features the return of Dr. Jerry Paytas from Fourth Economy Consulting as he discusses the current state of the economy, trends that workforce boards should be aware of, and his thoughts about the impact of the upcoming election on the overall U.S. economy.

Jerry Paytas


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • There has been a decrease in the number of long term unemployed
  • Energy producing regions of the US have been doing well in terms of job growth
  • The economic expansion may continue for another year or two
  • There is still a fundamental disjoint between GDP growth and job growth overall

Episode 30: What Workforce Boards Need to Know About Dental Therapy

This episode features an interview with Shelly Gehshan of the Gehshan Group as she discusses the emerging field of dental therapy in the US and what workforce boards need to know.

Shelly Gehshan


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • 2/3 of Americans lack access to dental care
  • Telehealth can extend dental care into rural areas
  • Dental therapists are part of a dental team, under a dentist
  • Most dentists find dental therapists help expand their practice 

Episode 29: Congressman George Miller on Workforce and WIOA

This episode features an interview with former U.S. Representative George Miller as he discusses the current state of the workforce system, his thoughts about WIOA, and what needs to change to improve outcomes for American workers and their families.

U.S. Representative George Miller


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • Innovation is crucial to a thriving US economy
  • There is a highly partisan environment in the current political cycle
  • There is a need for public participation in workforce issues
  • Workforce boards have broadened their participation over the past 2 years

Episode 28: Futures Thinking in Workforce

This episode features the return of Dr. Richard Lum of Vision Foresight Strategy, LLC as he discusses updates in futures thinking in workforce, and what workforce boards need to know.

Dr. Richard Lum


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • With increased turbulence in the workforce there is a growing interest in futures thinking
  • Many sectors are thinking about scenario based planning
  • There is a lot of interest in futures thinking about automation in the workforce 
  • You can't study the future, but you can study history and what it might say about the future

Episode 27: How the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Supports Workforce Development

This episode features an interview with Alice M. Warner, Director of Policy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as she discusses some of the initiatives that the foundation is funding that serve the workforce system. Discover the mission and vision of the Kellogg Foundation, and what workforce professionals and boards need to know when it comes to children's oral health initiatives as well as the emerging profession of dental therapy.

Alice Warner


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has funded dental hygiene since the 1950's
  • Dental therapists in Alaska serve remove native communities
  • Dental therapy improves health outcomes and quality of care
  • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is committed to increasing the well being of children

Episode 26: Introduction to Season Two

In this episode NAWB CEO Ron Painter discusses the themes that will be covered in the 2016-2017 season of Workforce Central, as well as the current challenges and opportunities in workforce.

Ron Painter


Takeaways From The Episode:

  • The new app for Workforce Central is now live for iOs and Android
  • The new federal budget will be challenging for the workforce system
  • Some states like California are continuing to invest in workforce
  • Themes for 2016-2017 include pay for performance and promising practices

Episode 1: Welcome To Workforce Central

This first episode of the new version of Workforce Central features a welcome from Ron Painter, President and CEO of the National Association of Workforce Boards. Discover what this podcast is about and how you can benefit. You'll also learn how you can provide feedback, as well as input as to what topics you'd like to see covered in future episodes.


Takeaways from this episode:

  • Workforce development is a system
  • We welcome your input on topics of interest
  • The podcast will feature economists, politicians, educators and more
  • The podcast will explore the good combinations of education and practice

Click here for archived episodes of Workforce Central »